116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A collision Saturday night between a freight train and a barge sticking out onto the railroad tracks sent coal cars and diesel fuel into the Mississippi River along Southeast Iowa’s Lee County, authorities said.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the barge was parked along the shore of the Mississippi River near Montrose. The Burlington Hawk Eye reported it was pulled up to the shore in a way that the nose of the barge was left extending over the tracks. When a southbound train operated by BNSF came down the tracks about 11:50 p.m., it hit the barge — derailing two locomotives and overturning several coal cars, the Iowa DNR said.
“Several hundred gallons of diesel was released on the ballast material, and was seeping into the Mississippi River from the locomotive fuel tank,” the Iowa DNR said Sunday in a news release. “A number of coal cars spilled an unknown quantity of coal into the river. No injuries were reported. ”
The department said it was working local emergency responders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that Mississippi River Road in the area would be partially closed while heavy equipment is brought in to clean up the derailment.